America has long been a sanctuary for people from other nations seeking freedom – or, as our Declaration of Independence puts it, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Every year, approximately 1 million legal immigrants flow into the United States in search of a new life. They have followed the carefully crafted laws and regulations regarding immigration and are residing in our cities, towns, and villages with the blessing of the federal, state and local governments.
However, according to the Department of Homeland Security, an estimated 11.4 million unauthorized aliens resided in the United States as of January 2012. The number of illegal aliens residing in Michigan is pegged at 97,000.
Some cities in the U.S. have adopted policies that prohibit municipal employees from notifying federal authorities of illegal immigrants living in their communities. These so-called “sanctuary cities” are ignoring federal laws and enabling illegal aliens to qualify for government benefits – benefits paid for by your hard-earned tax dollars.
There are two such sanctuary cities in Michigan – Ann Arbor and Detroit.
I am working on legislation that bans such policies that protect illegal residents. My goal is to eliminate the policy that is costly not only financially, but also in terms of quality health care and public safety.
Let’s list some of the negative impact sanctuary cities, which become magnets for illegal aliens, have on our lives:
· Higher cost of living;
· Reduced job availability with lower wages;
· Higher crime rates;
· Fiscal hardships on hospitals and substandard quality of health care; and
· Increased burden on public services, increasing costs and diminishing availability.
That doesn’t even take into consideration the increased tax burden this policy puts on citizens and legal immigrants who pay their fair share into state and local benefits, for which illegal aliens living in sanctuary cities are often eligible.
More frightening than anything, however, sanctuary cities undermine our national security. They could become havens where terrorists and individuals of national security concern go unnoticed and uninterrupted.
Legal immigration adds layers of rich culture to our state and nation, bringing families to Michigan who are ready to work hard to realize the American dream. But illegal aliens who infiltrate the county and our cities by bypassing our basic immigration laws undermine the very dimensions of the rule of law. We need to encourage legal immigration but also do all we can to protect our homeland and to remain a nation of laws.